By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 3 July, 2013:
Libya is losing $50 million a day because of industrial action at oil sites according to the Chairman of the General National Congress’ Energy Committee, Naji Al-Mukhtar.
The figure equates to around half a million barrels a day (b/d) but is lower than that reported by some government and oil company officials who have claimed that production is down from 1.6 million b/d earlier this year to just under a million b/d now. Other officials, however, put current production at 1.16 million b/d.
Over the past several months there have been shutdowns and blockades at a number of oilfields and facilities, in some cases over pay and conditions, in others over the absence of local employees and yet others over whom should be providing security.
At present, the Fil (Elephant) field west of Murzuk, operated by Mellitah Oil and with a capacity of 130,000 barrels a day is not producing as a result of a blockade by demonstrators, mainly Tebus, demanding more money, better conditions and jobs for locals. Staff have been pulled out by Italy’s Eni, the joint venture partners.
There are likewise disruptions at the two fields operated by Zueitina Oil
It has also been reported that the Sharara field west of Obari, operated by Akakus Oil, a joint venture between the NOC and Spain’s Repsol and with a capacity of 350,000 b/d, has completely shut down with demands from locals However, an official at Mellitah today told the Libya Herald on conditions of anonymity, that Akakus was known to be producing.
He also said that before it shut down, the Fil field was producing 75,000 b/d, not the 100,000 b/d as previously reported, but that production had been stopped for a month.
It has not been possible to verify the claims. Th oil companies are keeping tight lipped about production.
Speaking yesterday to Reuters, however, Congress’ Energy Committee Chairman warned that the unrest in the oil fields could see further losses in revenue as well as customers.